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Author: Kane Simms

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Learn how to implement voice first strategy and create world-class voice experiences with VUX World. Every week, we speak to industry thought leaders and practitioners on the three core pillars of voice: strategy, design and development. We share the deep details of how they do what they do, so that you can do what you do, better.
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Become an expert conversation designerThe Conversational Academy is a fantastic online course that'll teach you the ins and outs of conversation design. Prepare yourself for the UX role of the future and enrol on the course today. VUX World listeners will save $100 when you enrol at conversationalacademy.com.In this episodeIn part 2 of RAIN week, we're joined by Nick Rovisa, Director, Business Development, and Matt Lang, Strategy Director. The guys share their learnings on the voice industry, including how different clients perceive price i.e. how much should a voice project cost, as well as whether to think about voice from a content or app perspective.We dive deep into the work the team did with Nike in using Google Assistant to launch a new pair of sneakers at the half time interval during a televised Celtics v Lakers basketball game. We look at how the project came about, the lead times, the technical necessities of handling substantial transient traffic and the results of the project on sales.We discuss how through working with Unilever and a selection of influencers, RAIN were able to achieve a 10% conversion rate of newsletter sign ups via the Alexa skill they built. The Unilever project was a 7 week pilot with a selection of influencers in an attempt to bridge the social and voice landscape. We discuss how this new medium caused confusion with influencer licensing and how to get around that, as well as the results of the pilot and what it takes to sustain a content heavy voice experience.We discuss how to measure success and how, for some, starting to gather data to develop understanding is a better option than setting KPIs. We cover how to sell, without selling or being too overly salesy (that's a word).Finally, we chat about what's missing in voice: virality (that's another word). This includes developing our thinking on how to make experiences spread and whether to plumb voice into the mobile and social ecosystem in order to help discoverability.LinksRAINVisit the RAIN websiteSubscribe to the RAIN newsletter (scroll to bottom)RAIN on TwitterRAIN on InstaContactEmail RAIN Things we discussedAdoption, growth and in-skill purchases with Nick SchwabEverything is a remix by Kirby Ferguson
The Conversational Academy is a fantastic online course that'll teach you the ins and outs of conversation design. Prepare yourself for the UX role of the future and enrol on the course today. VUX World listeners will save $100 when you enrol at conversationalacademy.com.Welcome to RAIN weekThis week is RAIN week. We've got two huge episodes featuring the industry-leading and ground-breaking RAIN Agency.RAIN are a dedicated voice agency and have worked with 23 of the Fortune 100 companies on voice projects. From Nike to Unilever, Campbells to Tide creating experiences from utility to leisure to kids and even product launches.In this episodeIn this first episode with RAIN, we're joined by VP Emerging Experiences, Greg Hedges, to discuss how RAIN approach voice with the Fortune 100 and we get into detail on how they built the Kung Fu Panda Alexa skill for DreamWorks and Amazon.We share some detail on what's changed in voice since RAIN pivoted in 2015 to focus exclusively on voice. We discuss how brands have moved from more tactical thinking to more strategic and how voice is something that is beginning to impact businesses, rather than be a nice marketing tick box. We also discuss how voice has changed ownership within brands, moving away from the research and innovation teams and moving into the hands of marketing.Greg shares how RAIN has changed and adapted over the years, how the tools they use have improved, how they built using the VOXA framework and he shares some of the secret sauce RAIN use to track and analyse their voice experiences using Google Analytics.We also dive deep into the Kung Fu Panda Alexa skill and discuss some of the technical detail in how it came to be, how RAIN approached the project and what Greg learned from a technical, design and strategic perspective.LinksRAINVisit the RAIN websiteSubscribe to the RAIN newsletter (scroll to bottom)RAIN on TwitterRAIN on InstaContactEmail Greg Email RAINThings we discussedKung Fu Panda Alexa skillThe VOXA frameworkLucid chartsVUI design best practice when designing for kids with Paul JacksonWill Hall and Jason Herndon of RAIN on VUX World 
Kane Simms and Dustin Coates are joined by Elaine Lee, Principal Product Designer at Twilio, to discuss the ins and outs of Twilio's Autopilot bot builder and how you can build trust with users through dialogue design.Voice-Connected Home 2019, Cologne, GermanyThe Voice-Connected Home 2019 conference dives into all this and more with an incredible line up of speakers from brands like Amazon Alexa, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, BBC, BMW, Vodaphone and plenty more.Save 30% on tickets with promo code VuxVoice.Find out moreLearn the art of conversation design with the Conversational Academy online course.LinksFollow Elaine on LinkedInFollow Elaine on Medium Check out Autopilot on the Twilio websiteRead the documentation for Autopilot 
Why do all skills start with 'Welcome to xyz'? Is an 'assistant' the right mental model for voice experiences? Mark Webster of Adobe XD joins us to tackle some of the biggest challenges in voice and discusses how design can play a role in solving them.Voice-Connected Home conference in Cologne, Germany on May 7th-8th. Save 30% on tickets with promo code VuxVoice.Learn the art of conversation design with the Conversational Academy online course.Take some time out with the Moment PebbleAbout Mark WebsterMark Webster is Director of Product at Adobe, focusing on voice integration for Adobe XD. He is also responsible for driving product strategy for emerging technologies within XD. Mark joined Adobe through the acquisition of the company he founded, Sayspring, which offers a design and prototyping platform for voice interfaces.Prior to Sayspring, Mark was Director of Product for Groupon, focusing on entertainment and events. He landed at Groupon after SideTour, an e-commerce marketplace for local activities he co-founded, was acquired by Groupon in September 2013. Mark started his career with a five-year stretch at the National Basketball Association, where he worked in Creative Services.LinksFollow Mark on TwitterRead Mark's posts on MediumCheck out Adobe XDFollow Adobe XD on TwitterListen to Hans Van Dam discuss conversational design techniquesListen to Pulse Labs discuss situational design
This week, we're digging deep into how to craft compelling audio experiences in your voice app by using sonic branding and sound design, with Audio UX Co-Founder and CMO, Eric Seay.In this episode: sonic brandingWe're advancing the conversation we had with Joel Beckerman of Man Made Music on scoring voice experiences, and get into specifics of how to make your VUX sound better with a combination of sonic branding and sound design.We discuss:The resurgence of audioWhy is sonic branding and sound design are importantWhere and how to use sonic brandingHow sonic branding applies to voiceWhat's missing in voice from a sound design perspectiveThe anatomy of an Alexa skill and where sound design can make an impactThe 4 As: Audio As An Afterthought, and the perils of putting audio lastChallenges in sound design and audio branding, including celebrity voiceoversAbout Audio UX and Eric SeayAudio UX are a sound design and sonic branding company helping brands create a holistic Audio Aesthetic by developing an Audio DNA that is extractable, expandable, and effortlessly deployable into virtually any brand moment.Co-Founder and CMO, Eric Seay, has a background in audio production and composition, working on sound design and sonic branding initiatives for global brands.Earn monthly recurring revenue from your skills/actionsIf you build skills/actions for clients, then you can earn money from them each month through Speebly.Speebly let's your client's skill/action be accessed and interacted with via your client's website.Sign up your client to Speebly and you'll get a share of the monthly subscription fee.Plus, if you've already built the skill/action in Dialogue Flow, it'll take you 5 minutes to set up.Find out moreLinksAuxnyc.comAUX on TwitterAmazon Alexa BlueprintsAmazon Alexa sound libraryInvocable shuts down
Since starting VUX World in February 2018, things in the voice assistant industry have changed. At the last MUXL London Meet-up, Design for Voice, I presented 4 things that have moved forward and gave 4 pointers for you to take into consideration when working on your voice strategy and voice first projects.Read the full write up on vux.world
We're honoured to be joined by Andrea Muttoni and German Viscuso, Technical Evangelists at Amazon Alexa, to dive deep into how to translate your Alexa skill into other languages.At the time of writing, Amazon Alexa is available in over 40 countries and 12 languages, and continuously growing.For skill builders, tapping into emerging markets is key to having your skills used on a global scale and to growing your user base.However, if you have a skill that's in English, you can't just point it to the Italian or German skill store. You have to localise it and translate it for those languages.In this episodeIn this episode, German Viscuso and Andrea Muttoni walk us through a step by step process of how to localise your Alexa skill.We cover:Why you should localise your skill in the first placeFront-end design considerationsBack-end technical considerationsCultural differencesAndrea and German point to the importance of separating content and responses from code logic as the key to a successful localisation project. To help you visualise what that means, I've put together a little graphic that should help you picture this process visually.This episode builds on the conversations we had about VUI design localisation with Maaike Dufour and localisation tooling with Milkana Brace and Jonathan Burstein of Jargon.About Andrea Muttoni and German ViscusoAndrea Muttoni is the Senior Solutions Architect and Technical Evangelist for Amazon Alexa UK and IRE and German Viscuso is the Technical Evangelist at Alexa, Spain.Andrea and German are both more than qualified to speak in detail on localisation. Andrea was born in Italy and has lived in China, USA, Luxembourg, the UK and holds a German passport. While German was born in Argentina, lives in Spain and has an Italian passport!They both know their technical stuff, too (obviously).LinksContentAndrea’s article on localisationHow to build an Alexa skill from scratch on YouTubeFind localisation source code at: github.com/alexaQuickstart guide to the ASK CLIJoin the discussion on the Alexa forums: alexa.design/forumsTwitter and contact@alexadevs@muttonia@germanviscusoReach out to the team at: alexa.design/contactusThings we discussedCrowd in - https://crowdin.comAirtable - https://airtable.comVUI design translation with Maaike DufourLocalisation tooling with Jargon 
This week, Dustin Coates and Kane Simms are joined by Nick Carey, Lead Product Designer at Potato, to discuss the concept of creating an assistant on an assistant.This episode touches on some unique topics that we haven't covered before, such as:How to create an assistant on an assistant and the reasons for doing so.The utility to affinity scale and when to create a persona.AI and personalised VS static content and the difference between the voice interface and the backend functionality. We also discuss Nick's design and research process, how voice changes the interaction pattern, how character and story improve engagement and how technical development mixed with design led the team to create a randomised response builder capable of generating over a million different response combinations.LinksVisit the Potato website: http://p.ota.to(what a cool domain!)Twitter: NSDCarey 
This week, Dustin and I are joined by journalist and author, James Vlahos, to discuss the details of his book Talk to Me: How voice computing will transform the way we live, work and think.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioAbout Talk to MeJames Vlahos writes for the likes of WIRED, New York Times Magazine, Popular Science and GQ. His new book Talk to Mechronicles how the world’s biggest tech companies are battling to dominate voice—Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the Assistant—the biggest technological paradigm shift since mobile phones. The book tracks the strange scientific quest—from humanoid talking contraptions of the 19th century to the latest AIs—that has resulted in our being able to say something to a voice assistant and receive an intelligible reply. And it explores voice computing’s potential to upend control of knowledge; to befriend, advise, and surveil; and to preserve memories of lost loved ones, as with James' Dadbotproject.“Voice computing will profoundly reshape the way humans relate to machines, and Talk to Me is a brilliant and essential guide to what’s coming. James Vlahos understands how the technology works and all the complex things it will bring into the world—and he’s a superb writer too. You’ll find insights and meaning on every page, and you’ll keep turning them. This book is dynamite.” — Nicholas Thompson, editor in chief, Wired “Conversational AI is a genuine paradigm shift in our experience with technology. Vlahos brings the whole story to life, from big-picture historical context to the impact on our intimate personal lives. A thoughtful and enjoyable read.” — Tom Gruber, cocreator of Siri“James Vlahos has written an excellent book on how voice computing has become more and more of a growing presence in our everyday world. In Talk to Me, he provides the promise and peril of this development.” — Ray Kurzweil, inventor, author, and futurist“The baton of disruption has been passed from the smartphone to voice, and Vlahos helps make sense of this tectonic shift.” — Scott Galloway, author of the bestseller The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and GoogleLinksCheck out the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Passage.Follow James Vlahos on Twitter 
We're joined by Jonathan Myers and Dave Grossman, founders of world-class interactive audio production company, Earplay. Jonathan and Dave take us through what it takes to create movie quality interactive stories and share with us their approach to creating some of the worlds best voice experiences, such as Jurassic World Revealed and Jack Ryan.We're also joined by our special co-host for this episode, Florian Hollandt.In this episode, we discuss:How to increase engagement and retention through storytellingThe audio production pipelineMeasuring successMaking a voice game for gamersEarplay technologyWorking with Bose on AR interactive audioWhere to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioLinksEarplay: https://www.earplay.comCodename Cygnus: http://www.codenamecygnus.comEarplay iOS: http://bit.ly/EarplayCreator inquiries: talent@earplay.comBose AR: https://bose.com/arXandra: https://www.xandra.comCapstone: https://www.capstonepub.comJack Ryan: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-Video-JACK-RYAN/dp/B07GX72SN2Jurassic World: https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Studios-Interactive-Jurassic-Revealed/dp/B07D8KLPC9
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